Title: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece
Author: Annabel Pitcher
Genre: YA, Middle Grade, Contemporary
Source: Purchased (Audiobook)
Length: 6 hours (Unabridged)
Narrated by: David Tennant
Published by: Orion Publishing Group
Ten-year-old Jamie hasn’t cried since it happened. He knows he should have – Jasmine cried, Mum cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn’t, but then he is just a cat and didn’t know Rose that well, really.
Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that’s just one of those lies that grown-ups tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it’s worse than ever: Dad drinks, Mum’s gone and Jamie’s left with questions that he must answer for himself.
This is his story, an unflinchingly real yet heart-warming account of a young boy’s struggle to make sense of the loss that tore his family apart.
Ah, David Tennant. Seriously. If all books were narrated by David Tennant in their audiobook version, I would be a poor, poor girl. When I had Audible credits, I just had to use some of them towards this book because of the narrator. Thankfully, this turned out to be a wonderful story — funny, horribly, and completely heartbreaking.
Right off the bat, we’re given a sad story — Rose has died and a family is falling apart. But what about the children? I know it can be completely devastating for a parent to lose a child, but to lose yourself in the process and completely forget about your other children and their needs is heartbreaking. There were times where I hated Jamie’s parents and just wanted to give poor Jamie a hug.
There’s also the fact that this book deals with terrorism. I mean, it’s not a light listen. At all. This book has been deemed as a middle grade book, but it’s definitely something that parents should listen to or read with their kids. There are so many themes — loyalty, love, loss, grief — that are brought up, that the story would be a great place to bring up certain discussions. This book will make you want to talk, for sure.
As for the narration, well, you know. David Tennant rocks and even though this story is told by the point of view of a young boy, Tennant does it beautifully. The pacing is perfect and the inflection of the dialogue and prose worked so well. Like I said, I could listen to David Tennant narrate stories all day.
I was also happy that this audiobook introduced me to Annabel Pitcher. I’m interested to see what else she has to offer. I may have felt like my heart was completely ripped out by this story, but that only instilled my love of the writing more.